Luxury meets practicality…
Kim Henson test drives the largest premium saloon from the Genesis line-up, the G80, in this case with 2.2 litre turbo diesel power.
(All words and photographs by, and copyright, Kim Henson).
When driving the G80 saloon for a brief spell during a driving day last December, I liked the way that ‘new kid on the block’ (in the U.K. at least) Genesis has cleverly blended luxury with everyday practicality, to produce a good-looking large saloon offered at a competitive price. All this, of course, to try to lure potential buyers who might be considering rival models from established makers.
As detailed in my report in December (and in my recent road test feature on the firm’s GV70 SUV (GV70 Road Test March 2022) the Genesis philosophy differs from the established selling procedure offered by most motor manufacturers, and seeks to provide buyers with a personalised approach to build trust and loyalty over time. In particular this involves a Personal Assistant to help buyers throughout the process of acquiring their vehicle.
In addition, and as spelt out by my colleague Robin Roberts, as part of his recent write-up on the G70 Shooting Brake, the firm has now introduced their ‘Genesis Flexibility’ subscription service, starting at £599 per month, to enable drivers to enjoy the company’s products in return for a monthly payment, while not actually owning the car. For more information, and to read Robin’s report, please click on this link to view, and look under the ‘Late Genesis News’ section: Robin’s Genesis News
For those who prefer to buy, G80 prices start at £37,460 for the ‘Premium Line’ variant, with our test car version being the ‘Luxury Line’ model, listed at £42,260. This was increased by the Tasman Blue paintwork (at £750), plus options including the ‘Innovation Pack’ (£3,900) and ‘Comfort Seat Pack’ (£1,680), bringing the total figure to £48,590. This represents a lot of motor car for the money, and especially by comparison with other vehicles sold in this market sector.
Interior charm – and easy to live with – by design
Exterior fit and finish on the G80 is top class, and on entering the car it is evident that much thought has also gone into the luxurious, welcoming interior. The beautifully-trimmed seats are as comfortable and supportive as they look, and there is head and leg room a-plenty for all occupants, in both the front and rear seats. That said, due to the car’s sleek, low roof line, tall people may need to duck below the upper part of the door apertures when entering the vehicle.
The attention to detail applied throughout the G80, inside and out, is a revelation and all observers, and passengers carried during my week with the car, commented on this aspect.
The large, sleek, luxurious G80 saloon is also laden with clever technology and yet it is purpose-designed to be easy to operate.
As just one example, on first acquaintance with the vehicle it is clear that the heating and ventilation controls incorporate excellent graphics and intuitive operation; they can be operated independently of the large central display screen. This means that you don’t need to wade through menus galore to clear the windscreen of mist, warm the car’s interior or turn on the heated seats and/or steering wheel.
The same applies to the row of push-buttons positioned beneath the screen and enabling instant easy access to radio, sat nav and other ‘convenience’ functions.
The large central display screen for the infotainment system is also neat, easy to assimilate and logical to operate/switch between different functions when required; very welcome compared with some of the systems encountered on other makes.
Safety Systems galore
The on-board safety systems are comprehensive in coverage and on our test car included Lane Following Assist (LFA), Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist – Rear (BCA-R), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), FDA w/Pedestrian and Cyclist (FDA-CYC), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Manual Speed Limit Assist (MSLA) and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA), also Smart Cruise Control.
The test car was also equipped with a fuel/emissions saving engine stop/start system, plus a Remote Smart Parking Assist system. This automatically controls the steering wheel, transmission controls and vehicle speed, to help the driver when parking.
Connectivity includes Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Satellite Navigation on the 14.5 inch display screen, a Premium DAB audio system with nine speakers, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming system, and the Genesis Connected Services telematics system.
Powerful and economical; facts and figures
The G80 that recently I drove for a week was propelled by a 2.2 litre diesel motor (Euro 6D specification), developing 210 PS at 3,800 rpm, plus 441 Nm (325 lb.ft) of torque – this delivered between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm.
Under the WLTP rating system, CO2 emissions are listed as being between 169 to 164 g/km, with Combined fuel consumption quoted as being between 43.7 and 45.0 miles per gallon. This is impressive for a large car and underlines the fact that for some motorists diesel power is still very relevant, helping to make the vehicle cost-effective for long distance/high mileage motoring – and definitely without any potential ‘range anxiety’ worries.
Among the multitude of useful technical aids, an advanced ‘chassis’ feature of our road test G80 is the Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) that uses camera technology ‘reads the road’ ahead to ‘pre-adjust’ the set-up in order to provide a smooth ride quality at all times. The G80 features multi-link suspension at the front and rear.
Theory’s fine, but what is the car like in everyday use?
To start with, the multi-adjustable front seats feature power operation and a ‘Front Seat Easy Access’ system. Essentially this moves the seats rearwards to enable easy entry to, and exit from, the vehicle, and when the front seat occupants are aboard, the seats move back to their pre-set positions ready for travelling. This easy access is aided by wide-opening doors – both front and rear; excellent.
Directly ahead of the driver is an ultra-clear instrument panel, in addition to the multi-function large display screen mounted centrally on the facia. A very helpful aspect is the projection of vehicle speed, together with the relevant local speed limit applying, onto the windscreen ahead of the driver. All clear, unmistakable and a safety/licence-saving feature. Apparently, if a speed limit is exceeded, the limit applying will flash on the windscreen, alongside the actual road speed of the vehicle, enabling adjustment/correction to be made to match the two.
Much-appreciated by this driver was the system (termed ‘Blind Spot View Monitor’) linked to twin rear view cameras, and which projects an image onto the dashboard, showing a rearwards ‘live video’ view along the appropriate side of the vehicle when the left or right-hand indicators are activated. This clearly shows a cycle or traffic approaching from the rear; brilliant.
The centre console features twin rotary controls, the one closest to the facia covering central display screen functions.
The rotary control nearest to the driver enables him or her to readily engage ‘Drive’ or ‘Reverse’ (through ‘Neutral’) via the eight speed automatic transmission. I found it especially easy to use. Situated in the centre of the rotary control is the push-button-activated ‘Park’ setting.
The torquey diesel engine pulled strongly at all speeds, and at 60 mph required just 1,200 or so rpm (around 1,600 rpm was needed at 70 mph), for quiet, refined cruising. Indeed I found that this G80 is a fine machine for long-distance cruising, and during one very busy day, when I spent many hours at the wheel (admittedly with breaks), I still felt alert at the end of my day’s travelling.
According to Genesis figures, the car is quoted as being able to accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 8.0 seconds, and has a potential top speed of 147 mph. Acceleration on the move is rapid too, with Genesis figures quoting 5.7 seconds to increase speed from 80 to 100 kph (approximately 50 to 75 mph). In real life motoring this translates into rapid acceleration when required, minimising time spent on the ‘wrong’ side of the road when overtaking, for example.
There’s a push-button on the centre console to enable switching between three drive modes, ‘Eco’, which does what it says on the tin, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’. During my week’s motoring I ran the car mainly in ‘Eco’ or ‘Comfort’ modes, both of which provided good acceleration and fuel economy, occasionally trying ‘Sport’ mode when the road ahead was clear. Dynamic performance was noticeably sharpened up when the ‘Sport’ setting was activated, and in addition, at the same time I could feel my seat’s backrest side bolsters move inwards to provide improved location for me within the seat.
I found that the G80 handled well, especially for a large saloon; it was positive in terms of steering response, stuck well to chosen lines on twisting roads, also braking efficiency was exemplary and reassuring.
At the same time ride comfort was generally very good – although on some very uneven sections of tarmac, with broken surfaces, I was slightly surprised to find that the car did feel a little ‘unsettled’.
The G80 was a quiet vehicle in which to travel, and the most obvious sound I noticed was subdued tyre ‘roar’ on some surfaces – underlining how refined the drivetrain is, and how quiet the vehicle is in other respects.
The screenwipers and washers proved to be very efficient, and during my many miles of night-time driving I found that the lighting was excellent. The dipped beam headlamps gave a good spread of light, and changing up to main beam considerably widened the area of coverage as well as extending the range forwards, so that the sides of the road were illuminated beautifully, highlighting any potential dangers. I liked the way in which the headlamps changed gradually (over a second or two) when switching up from dipped to main beam, helping one’s eyes to become accustomed to the brighter, more long-reaching beams. (Of course when changing down from main to dipped beams, this happens ‘instantly’ to avoid dazzling other road users).
In addition, after following a friend who was driving his own car, for some miles and with the G80’s headlamps on dipped beam of course, it was reassuring that he reported that the Genesis lamps, while effective for me as driver, did not dazzle him.
A nice touch is illumination of the ground beneath the driver’s door, as the car is approached with key in hand, and the ‘puddle lamps’ that activate beneath both front doors each incorporate a ‘Genesis’ logo projected within the light beam. Subtle interior illumination of the interior door trim panels was also appreciated by this tester.
Meanwhile the quadruple interior lamps situated in the centre of the car, just above the top of the windscreen, are not only effective but also were cleverly activated by a ‘swipe’ of the hand to turn them on and off. These are very useful for night-time map-reading or indeed trying to do a crossword puzzle while waiting in the static queue for an Isle of Wight ferry…
My time with the car included some very cold days and it was comforting in every way that the heated front seats and steering wheel were easily activated and the heat settings for the seats and the wheel are multi-adjustable. The seats also have ‘cooling’ settings for travelling on hot days. The air con/heating/ventilation system (adjustable individually for front seat occupants; rear seat passengers also have their own outlet vents and controls) worked well and again was very easy to operate.
Stowage compartments abound, including door pockets (larger in the front doors than in the rears), a lockable glove box, and a roomy ‘locker’ forming part of the centre console, with twin folding lids that meet in the centre when closed. In addition there are document/map pockets built into the backs of the front seats.
The G80 saloon’s boot space is long from front to back, reasonably deep from top to bottom, and wide. By my measurements the length (front to rear) is approximately 43 inches (109 cm), the minimum width (between the unavoidable wheel arch intrusions) is about 34 inches (86 cm), widening to a maximum width of around 48 inches (122 cm).
Depth-wise, my measuring tape showed me 19.5 inches (49.5 cm), approximately. When loading or unloading luggage, it is necessary to lift it over the rear sill, but this is relatively low. In addition the bootlid opens high, out of the way, and the boot opening is generously proportioned in terms of width and length, these aspects helping users too.
I liked the twin elasticated pockets, one on either side within the boot, that are handy for safely carrying small items such as cameras, etc.
Lifting the boot floor reveals an emergency tyres inflation kit (there’s no spare wheel), within a tray that incorporates shallow compartments for additional storage of small items.
Fuel consumption – very good news
In my use, in town the G80’s on-board trip computer recorded between 39 and 41 miles per gallon. However, during my longer runs on the open road the displayed figures rose at times to better than 48 miles per gallon, with the overall average being 46.2 mpg. I feel that this is remarkably good for a large, high performance luxury saloon, and indeed betters the official Combined figures of between 43.7 and 45.0 miles per gallon. In practical terms, our overall consumption figure of 46.2 mpg means a very useful potential driving range on a full tank of more than 660 miles.
The G80 offers comfort, space, excellent performance plus miserly fuel consumption, and all within a smart-looking, well-engineered, comprehensively-equipped and beautifully-built package.
Wheels-Alive Tech. Spec in Brief:
Genesis G80 Luxury Line saloon (diesel)
Engine: Four cylinder 16 valve turbocharged common rail 16 valve diesel (Euro 6D), 2151cc, 210 PS @ 3,800 rpm; max. torque 441 Nm (325 lb.ft), from 1.750 to 2,750 rpm.
Transmission: Rear wheel drive via eight speed automatic transmission.
0 – 62 mph: 8.0 seconds
50 – 75 mph: 5.7 seconds
Top speed: 147 mph
Fuel consumption: Official Combined figure, 43.7 to 45 mpg. Actual figure achieved on test, 46.2 mpg. Fuel tank capacity: 65 litres (14.30 Imperial gallons). Approximate range on a full tank, at our achieved mpg figure: 660+ miles.
CO2 emissions: 164 to 169 g/km.
Length: 4,995 mm (16.39 ft)
Wheelbase: 3,010 mm (9.88 ft)
Width: 1,925 mm (6.32 ft)
Height: 1,465 mm (4.81 ft)
Max. laden mass: 2,445 kg (5,390 lb)
Luggage capacity (VDA): 424 litres (14.97 cu.ft)